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ATL Union says Stop Shutting Libraries! And we are there to support them.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at the ACC exhibition centre in Liverpool as guests of the trade union ATL, along with colleagues from CILIP School Libraries Group. We were all there to provide background information and support the motion put forward by Derby and Derbyshire branch.

We had a stand in the exhibition and had many conversations with teachers and librarians about the state of their school libraries – and, as the recent ATL survey found  - there is either feast of famine, i.e. Good well supported, well staffed libraries working in school, or the librarian being made redundant or not replaced, and the books being distributed to departments, or, as in a couple of cases, ending in skips!

Wednesday morning was the time for the motion and we were allowed in to see the discussion (I am a Unison member, though my colleague is ATL) and there was a definite wave of support for the motion – it was well received and was passed by 98% of the delegates.  Although most of the press coverage was based upon the 'books in skips' there was detail in the motion about information literacy and the importance of research skills in the world today.  Plus the call that libraries have librarians too. The call on Ofsted to inspect libraries has been made before – but perhaps a groundswell of support like this will help forward our cause.

Much of the press coverage has been similar – but you may like to see some of it (I'm sure there will be more in the next few weeks!) A piece from the BBC, a report from Schoolsweek, the London Evening Standard and the TES all follow similar lines. The piece in the Guardian is from the man who seconded the motion and is a diary blog on their website.  Alan Gibbons has included a piece on his blog too – which also includes a lot of the statistics from the survey.

April ATL Library Survey Quotes From Library Assns V1

Word document, 19 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


So – let us work together to create the picture we all know – that school libraries are vital, that they make a big contribution to learning, and they support reading for pleasure in the most creative way. If we keep presenting this at the highest level we have available to us then the optimist in me tells me we will make a difference and government will have to take action.

Motion Proposal Speech

PDF file, 69 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


April 6 2016 ATL School Libraries Survey

PDF file, 115 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


Tricia Adams

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